December 3, 2016

Innovative instagram

BY SHEILA ZERANG Pre-law student/writer Email: sh.ze96@gmail.com

When my friends first asked me to make an Instagram, I firmly said no to them. It looked so weird to me. People follow each other so they can look at each other’s pictures? Why would you do that when you can do the same thing on Facebook along with other things? Instagram was an extra app that took up space on my phone. And for a while it only served that purpose.

I followed a few friends, they followed me back, and we looked at each other’s pictures. Then they began liking my pictures and I liked their pictures back. It was a weird, give and get act of kindness. As many of you might fear, it felt like a complete waste of time. I would have only checked it out if I weren’t surfing on Facebook or other websites. It took me a while to catch on to what Instagram was capable of doing.
Mark Kieger and Kevin Systrom launched Instagram in 2010. After a year or two, it became something I never thought it would become. It became popular! It now has over one billion users around the world. And something that helped its popularity increase was Facebook. In 2012, Facebook bought Instagram for one billion dollars. Since I used to love Facebook, when it bought Instagram, it made me change my perspective a little bit. Then I came to the realization that Instagram isn’t as useless as it seems in contrary it is full of spectacular and amazing features.

But Facebook buying Instagram wasn’t the only reason for its popularity. Instagram began growing rapidly and making its users engages with the system by gaining their trust. For example I noticed that recently Instagram began deleting spam accounts. It has also started verifying accounts of brands, celebrities, and athletes. So whether you enjoy Instagram or not I think their attempt for “keepin it all real” should be taken into notice.

Because if you compare Instagram with other social media sites like Facebook and twitter you will instantly notice the difference. For instance I learned that Facebook has over 40 percent of unauthorized accounts. And twitter has about 20 percent fake and unofficial accounts that are made by hackers and spammers. Have they done anything about it? Unfortunately not. Every social media values different things. For Instagram, it’s important that their users are real people and for me this is something valuable as well. Do you agree? Truthfulness is important along with other steps a social media can take toward improving itself.

Instagram took a big step forward in the advertising industry. Around eight months ago, my friends and I visited a restaurant named Shisha. We ordered food and chatted with each other and when we decided to leave, we asked for the check. When the waitress brought the check, she gave us a card with a phone number and Instagram account name on it. The waitress told us if we followed them on Instagram, we would get a 20% off discount on our bill. So we all followed the account on Instagram.

It was a one-time thing; we all thought we would soon unfollow that account as soon as we got out of Shisha. But for some reason we didn’t. Or at least I didn’t. I began looking at pictures. I saw an image of a greasy Shish Kabob and I was torn up for why I didn’t order that instead of the chicken burger with fries. I’m not sure but I might have even dreamed about that Shish Kabob that night. Thanks Instagram!

The next day, my friend texted me and said that a new store opened up. She said they posted pictures of what they have on Instagram and “they seem to have good stuff”. I began checking it out on Instagram and later we visited the store. Indeed Instagram has taken a step forward. It has created a way of communication for both people with different wants and needs. Like my friend who was looking for a new shopping store, she easily found the place she was looking for.

Aside from that, it’s not only beneficial for shoppers, but also Marketers who want to promote their products. Marketers can advertise their products in no time by taking a snapshot and applying filters to it. People used to hire professional photographers or buy online Photoshop applications to do that. Now with the simplest steps they can make their pictures look artistic. Even more, they can use hash tags so anyone who ever searches anything specific can see their snapshot among other images of related items. There’s nothing complicated, everything is as simple as it gets. Is simplicity a problem for some people? Does it feel overwhelming that a 21.6 MB app can do so much? I bet it does. But believe it or not we are in the age of growth and new innovations. We have to move forward with new spectacular findings.

It’s like the useless liking of pictures has been replaced with something actually useful. Companies have started using Instagram for making their products known throughout the world. And people who want to buy something have now found an easy way to do that. But if you’re not into buying things, it doesn’t mean Instagram isn’t for you.
Aside from taking non-stoppable selfies and posting them on Instagram, which can be annoying sometimes, there are other things that Instagram lets you do. I personally always wanted to know what other places on Earth looked like. For example, I always wanted to know what Germany looked like. And by that I don’t mean the way it looks like on Google Images. I mean the way it looks like in the eyes of its citizens. The way people who live there want to present it. When there has been a rainy day or a beautiful morning. Or when someone has posted an image from a very old house or a brand new drink.

I want to see all of that. Wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t people want to be able to see things outside of their own little bubble? To see the world around them without having to travel thousand of miles along the shores and the sea. Many might think that all of this accessibility may cause people to lose the interest and the excitement of discovering the unknown. But think about it. Many do not have the money or the time to see everything life offers. Instagram allows people to do that. Of course, only if they choose to do so.

But for those who are wondering, I don’t mean Instagram should replace traveling. Because such a thing is not impossible. For example I can look at a picture of a car all I want, but will it ever be the same as driving it? Of course not. Though what it does is that it satisfies my wonders and questions about that car. So one day when I buy that car and drive it I will know it’s something I’ve looked at in hundreds of different shapes and filters and love it in each. So my point is that Instagram can be used as a tool to give people a better perspective of unknown objects, things, and places but doesn’t mean it can replace them. With the use of special filters, cropping, hashtag system, it can present a beautiful scene of a real moment in life.

Many would probably disagree with me and say Instagram filters stops images from being in its realest form. But so what? If there is something that gives a picture several options and different styles of showing its beauty, why not? Why not let it do so. I think what matters is the originality of the image. It’s the idea that the image had been photographed in a real moment by a real person. Like human beings. Don’t we put on a little bit of make up, dress nice, put on perfume and try to resemble the best image of ourselves? Then it’s natural for us to want to show life that exists at the other side of our camera at its best form.

Many might think the easy access to the imaging technology that is provided by Instagram ruins photography. But I think this isn’t necessarily true. How could one ever confuse Instagram photos for real photographs? It’s like comparing a long Facebook status to a winning novel. It’s not the same thing. Instagram does have affects but those affects aren’t comparative to professional photography.

Nevertheless Instagram might make people feel like models or photographers but it serves another purpose. For the vast majority of users it isn’t about being professionally engaged in photography. But it’s about sharing their lives. Allowing others to take a glance of their everyday activities and hobbies.
Maybe after all, Instagram is a goggle that lets you see through the darkness. If we get over the selfies and how many likes a picture gets, we can see a whole different side to Instagram. It might be full of artificial filters and advertisements that are true. But the way it connects the people on the globe with a touch of a picture makes a statement seem very true: a picture is worth a thousand words on Integra.
THE END

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